Recently, Dave Pflieger, Chairman of Tourism Fiji, participated in the rollout of a new slogan for the island nation. The “Fiji: Where Happiness Finds You” campaign seeks to attract tourists to the country. Pflieger explained that in Fiji, “you don’t have to look for [happiness], because it’s right here.” He attributed the serene, joyful atmosphere that prevails in Fiji to the gorgeous scenery and the friendly, welcoming locals.
A recent survey from Gallup gives scientific data to support Pflieger’s impressions. According to the survey, Fiji is the world’s happiest country. Fiji boasts a happiness index of 84. The world as a whole has a happiness index of 40, making people in Fiji more than twice as happy as the average country. The study also found that there is no link between wealth and happiness. Rather, happiness was a function of how comfortable people felt with their society and their relationships with others. Travelers who want to learn more about Fiji, its culture, and its attractions, can visit the “Discover Fiji” page at the website of Air Pacific, Fiji’s national airline, which will soon be rebranded as Fiji Airways.
A new Boeing 737-800 was welcomed into the fleet at Air Pacific nearly a year ago. The aircraft replaced an older Boeing 767 in January of 2012 and was the first aircraft to be added to the Air Pacific Fleet since 2003. The new plane was christened Mamanuca Islands, which followed Air Pacific’s longstanding tradition of naming aircraft after picturesque areas of Fiji.
The B737-800 is the most popular aircraft in the Next Generation family of 737 aircrafts. It contains comfortable leather seats and boasts state-of-the-art fuel efficiency, thanks to the most modern and cutting-edge engine enhancements. The flight deck contains up-to-date flat-panel display technology and the latest in navigation and flight management capabilities. The maximum altitude for cruising on the Boeing 737-800 is a remarkable 41,000 feet. Cabin design maximizes space and uses sculpting of the interior for aesthetically pleasing results.
About David Pflieger: Having earned 25 years of experience in the aviation industry, David Pflieger now serves as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer at Air Pacific. In addition to this role, David Pflieger is the Chairman of Tourism Fiji, a position he has held since 2010.
In 2009, Virgin America became the first airline to report its annual greenhouse gas emissions. Air travel inherently produces a lot of carbon emissions, approximately 2-3% of the world’s greenhouse-gas emissions are produced by commercial aircrafts; making carbon emissions public was a bold move for the company. Most commercial airlines prefer to keep their carbon “wingprint” quiet.
Starting in 2012, the European Union required airlines flying to their alliance’s 27 countries to reduce carbon emissions, and Virgin America is meeting that challenge by purchasing new LEAP turbofan engines for their Airbus A320 aircraft. These fuel-efficient engines will bring a 15% increase in efficiency to an A320 fleet that is already up to 25% more fuel efficient than the fleets of competing airlines.
In addition to efficient engines, Virgin America also makes use of conservation strategies like single-engine taxiing, lower cruising speeds, conservative takeoffs, and using ground-based electricity when possible. This all combines to make Virgin America a leader in the effort to make flying commercially a greener activity.
About the Author: Dave Pflieger is a pilot, attorney, and business executive. Having piloted both civilian and military aircrafts, David Pflieger has also been an executive for Delta Air Lines, Virgin America, and Air Pacific, Ltd., where he currently serves as CEO and Managing Director.
Dave Pflieger, the Chief Executive Officer of Air Pacific, recently praised Fiji for its “stunning” beauty and the friendliness of its people. Pflieger, who also serves as Chairman of Tourism Fiji, plans to rebrand the island nation’s national airline as Fiji Airways during the spring of 2013. Tourism Fiji recently launched an international marketing campaign built around the slogan, “Fiji: Where Happiness Finds You.” The tourism board feels that this statement sums up the essence of Fiji’s appeal to travelers who are seeking a beautiful, relaxing, and exotic vacation destination.
In 2013, Tourism Fiji plans to focus its efforts on attracting more people on honeymoons, traveling with family, or seeking luxury destinations. The group has launched a tour of India to attract new business from the subcontinent, where Fiji has been growing in popularity after being featured in several successful Bollywood films. The country’s tourism industry recovered quickly after a recent cyclone, with many resorts using the disaster as an opportunity to improve and upgrade their facilities. Tourism Fiji hopes to attract 1 million annual visitors by 2016.
The airline industry is well known for being a heavy producer of greenhouse gasses – aviation accounts for two percent of greenhouse gas production worldwide. However, the relatively new U.S. carrier Virgin America has been ranked by Greenopia as the greenest domestic airline due to its fuel conservation, recycling programs, and other green practices.
Virgin America’s relatively new fleet of airplanes aids in its fuel efficiency, but the airline also makes a conscious effort to equip their aircraft with the best in fuel efficient technology and employs fuel-saving practices like single-engine taxiing and reduced thrust takeoffs. Virgin America also leads in green building efforts. For example, their headquarters are LEED Silver Certified, a designation for green building developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.
In addition, Virgin America was one of the first U.S. airlines to make public it’s greenhouse gas emissions, and the Virgin parent company has pioneered the practice of offering carbon offset programs to customers.
About the author: Dave Pflieger is the CEO and Managing Director of Air Pacific, Ltd., Fiji’s national airline. An experienced airline executive who served as Senior Vice President at Virgin America, Mr. Pflieger is also an attorney and former military pilot and flight instructor.
Virgin Atlantic’s Carbon Calculator Helps Travelers Understand the Impact of Air Travel, By Dave Pflieger
Air travel is a highly intensive creator of greenhouse gasses. With 2-3% of the world’s greenhouse-gas emissions produced by commercial aircraft, taking a flight has an impact on the environment. Virgin Atlantic was one of the first airlines to publish their greenhouse gas emissions and is working to help reduce greenhouse emissions through greener practices as well as through offsetting carbon emissions.
With the Virgin Atlantic’s Carbon Calculator, found at http://www.virginatlantic.myclimate.org, travelers can calculate the amount of carbon needed to offset their travel. For example a round trip economy flight from New York City to Los Angeles would cost about $16 to offset. Those dollars would help to reduce or remove the carbon emitted from the flight so there is no net gain in greenhouse gasses.
Virgin Atlantic aims to be transparent about the carbon impact of their flights, as well as to partner with organizations that find innovative solutions to climate change.
About the Author: Currently the CEO and Managing Director of Air Pacific, Ltd., Dave Pflieger has served as Senior Vice President at Virgin America, where he also served as a pilot. David Pflieger trained as a pilot and an attorney, he has experience both as general counsel and as a pilot and flight instructor.
In addition to the marine activities for which Fiji is renowned internationally, the country offers numerous inland pursuits for visitors. River and coastal sea kayaking are popular activities, as is whitewater rafting in the interior of the country’s main island, Viti Levu. This island’s Wainikoroiluva River and scenic Upper Navua Gorge are characterized by Class II and III whitewater rapids that offer a challenging yet comfortable course for novices and experienced rafters alike. Cultural attractions are also a major part of Fiji’s appeal. The islands of Denarau, Sigatoka, and Nadi offer distinct and varied artwork and handicrafts. Island marketplaces are ideal for obtaining great deals on wood carvings, exquisitely crafted jewelry, and ornamental tanoa bowls for kava. Food lovers have an abundance of tropical fruits, vegetables, and pungent Indian spices from which to choose.
About the Author
As Chairman of Tourism Fiji, David Pflieger oversees campaigns that seek to highlight visitor entertainments in the island nation. He is also the CEO of Air Pacific, Ltd., which is soon to be rebranded as Fiji Airways.
When David Pflieger, a former Virgin America executive, took charge of Air Pacific in 2010, he faced stagnant passenger loads and negative returns. Initially, he increased on-time service and improved customer relations. He upped ridership, cut costs, and ordered new Airbus A330 jets to improve flight range and fuel efficiency. Pflieger’s changes have already increased ridership and profits. On October 10, 2012, Air Pacific debuted its rebranding effort, which will focus on the island roots of Fiji’s national airline.
After May of 2013, Air Pacific will change its name to Fiji Airways. The airline will complete its rebranding process before January of 2014. The change in brand will make it easier for consumers and travel agents to identify the airline’s core mission: providing excellent service for tourists who wish to vacation in Fiji. The new look includes native Fijian artwork on the bellies, wings, and tails of the planes. The chosen symbols represent the friendly welcomes, white sand, and blue waters for which Fiji is known. In addition, the new airplanes feature more comfortable seating with 110-volt plug-ins so that travelers can recharge their electronic devices in flight.
The second part of this article will discuss how David Pflieger’s innovations will increase the airline’s international recognition.
By David Pflieger
Over the past three decades, global air travel has grown by an average of about 5 percent a year. While changing economic conditions have affected air travel at various times, the overall trend has been marked by steady growth. Today, there are more than 3,700 airports, 2000 airlines, and more than 23,000 planes in service across the globe.
Industry watchers believe the total value of the global airline industry will top $713 billion in the coming year. This represents a spike of more than 42 percent from 2010. By 2015, the number of passengers will likely exceed 3 billion travelers, up some 28 percent from 2010.
Fuel costs continue to present a challenge to profitability in the years ahead. In 2001, for example, fuel accounted for 13 percent of airline costs. A decade later, that figure had risen to 30 percent of costs. This rise in prices has already spurred a search for more cost-effective, environmentally friendly fuels.
About David Pflieger: A decorated former United States Air Force pilot, David Pflieger currently serves as Managing Director and CEO of Air Pacific, Ltd., the national air carrier of Fiji.
Despite an uncertain economy, North American airline companies are expected to post improved growth for 2012, according to the International Air Transport Association. Increased travel demand and tighter capacity are contributing to higher profits this year. Profits should hit $1.4 billion in 2012, up from the previously projected growth of $900 million.
In the Asia-Pacific market, carriers will bring in record profits in 2012. Industry watchers predict profits in this market of $2 billion, slightly down from projections, but still strong.
Overall, airlines are abandoning older, less-efficient aircraft and focusing on rightsizing their fleets. Investment in new aircraft over the next two decades could total $3.5 trillion toward the purchase of nearly 28,000 aircraft, each with seating capacity for more than 100 passengers. Asia will continue to drive the increased global demand for travel.
About David Pflieger: During his tenure as Senior Vice President of Virgin America, David Pflieger led the airline from start-up status to its receiving recognition as Best Domestic Airline from Condé Nast and Travel & Leisure for 2008, 2009, and 2010. Mr. Pflieger is currently the CEO & Managing Director of Air Pacific Ltd.